Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

If you’ve determined that you need to file a case in Arizona probate court, you’ll need to follow the specific procedure required in the county that has jurisdiction over the case (the county in which the decedent lived). Generally, you should always include an original plus one copy of each document filed.

If you have an emergency hearing scheduled, note that you’ll need to arrive at the clerk’s office at least 20 minutes ahead of time to give the clerk time to file the case in the system. Otherwise, under ordinary circumstances, once your case is filed, the clerk will issue a notice of hearing which then has to be taken to the calendaring office to receive a hearing date. Informal probates in Arizona are simpler: the court registrar must sign these within 24 hours. When filing Arizona probate, a personal representative is usually appointed. This applies whether a probate is filed testate or intestate (with or without a will).

Formal and Informal Arizona Probate Proceedings

Arizona offers both formal and informal probate proceedings. The court may be formally petitioned, or one may informally apply to the court registrar. Formal hearings are before a judge and require a petition for probate to be filed. Disputes among interested parties can trigger a formal probate proceeding in Arizona. Otherwise, an informal proceeding, which involves designating an executor of the estate, is more common. Note that Arizona probate proceedings can be converted to either formal or informal after their initial filing – they are not forever fixed as originally filed. For instance, a probate can be initiated informally by application to the court registrar, and then proceed to a formal hearing at any time if one becomes necessary.

From the formal hearing, the probate can even revert back to an informal proceeding, but only so long as there are no pending formal hearings required in the matter, and as long as there are no unresolved demands for notice on file. One final important difference to note is that formal probate proceedings often require the assistance of an experienced Arizona probate attorney, while informal probate generally does not.

For more information, check out our article on the Basics of Arizona Probate.